Monday, August 1, 2011

Have paper books become just an intellectual decoration in the age of ebooks?

Nick Bilton has an interesting piece on the New York Times' Bits, where he's presenting his dilemma - he's moving from NY to SF and not sure what to do with all the hundreds of books he have? Should he take them with him or not?

He's explaining:

"Although I love my print books, e-readers, in one form or another, have become my primary reading device over the last few years. I barely touch my print books, although they are still beautiful and important to me. But they sit on my bookshelf as a decorative and intellectual art form...

As I packed for the move, I questioned whether it made financial sense to ship my several hundred books across the country, and more important, if I went through the trouble of doing this, what was the point when they would only sit untouched in a different city, just as they have for so many years in New York?"

This is a dilemma I'm sure many readers who are became mostly e-readers share. I find it a very interesting as this is not just a question of space and technology - I believe it's a much broader question about our culture and identity because for so many of us, the paper books are still a significant part of who we are. So can we move on and leave this part behind us now that we can have these books in an electronic version within seconds? Tough question.

So what Bilton did eventually? He reports: "In the end, I decided to leave 80 percent of the books behind, donating them to bookstores and even throwing some old, tattered volumes in the garbage. I still feel guilty about it, but I also feel vindicated by the practicality of my actions."

I can understand Bilton, although I really wish he would put the old, tattered volumes in the recycling bin instead of throwing them to the garbage.

What do you think? What would you do or have done in similar situation? Please comment and share your thoughts with us!

Photo: Books on the floor, Flickr Creative Commons, Toni Girl

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Plant one tree for every book your read!